Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Have you seen Abraham Lincoln Bicentenniel Exhibition at Atlanta History Center?

Atlanta History Center Only Southern Venue is Hosting Nationally Traveling Exhibition
Before he became President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln was an Illinois country lawyer, an antislavery state legislator, a member of the United States House of Representatives who opposed the Mexican War, and twice was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the U.S. Senate. With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition commemorates the 200th anniversary of the birth of our nation’s most revered president. Significantly more than a chronological account of the life of President Lincoln, this exhibition reveals a very personal side of Abraham Lincoln the man, whose intellect and thought, words in speeches and writings, and his occasionally difficult actions in a desperate time of war were deeply affected by his personal experiences and the pivotal historic events brought upon him by the advent of war and loss of life.

On display at the Atlanta History Center through November 7, 2010, the exhibition features interactive computer stations, multimedia presentations, important documents, books, broadsides, and newspapers, as well as prints and photographs, notable artifacts, and historical maps. The exhibition and accompanying programming is designed to provide a glimpse into Lincoln’s presidency and address the storm of controversies he faced, including demanding challenges to individual civil liberties and our national Constitution, as well as controversies over slavery and race, and the defiance of the South leading to the dissolution of the Union and the Civil War. For more information, call 404.814.4000 or visit AtlantaHistoryCenter.com.

The Atlanta History Center is the only venue in the South to host this important national traveling exhibition organized by the Library of Congress. With Malice Toward None and its national tour are made possible through the generous support of Union Pacific Corporation, which was founded by President Lincoln after he signed the Pacific Railway Act in 1862. For more information on Lincoln and Union Pacific, visit UPCelebratesLincoln.com. The exhibition is presented in Atlanta by The John and Mary Franklin Foundation, Southern Company, Atlanta Gas Light, and the Georgia Humanities Council. With Malice Toward None is presented as part of the Atlanta History Center’s Civil War to Civil Rights exhibition series, presented by the Scott Hudgens Family Foundation, Macy’s, and The Atlanta Foundation.

The exhibition opens with a multimedia presentation that explores both the mythic Lincoln and the honorable man as revealed by his stirring and unifying words. It also charts Lincoln’s dramatic ascent from a simple prairie politician to our country’s preeminent statesman and provides a window into the Lincoln presidency, his life’s struggle to keep the Union intact, and as the war drew to a close his last attempts to heal the nation’s wounds before his death.

Video commentaries appear throughout the exhibition from distinguished Americans, including Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, actor Sam Waterston, and others that reveal personal connections to the documents Lincoln wrote. Interactive programs trace the president-elect’s celebratory journey by rail from Springfield to Washington and his return to Illinois by funeral train as the nation mourned his death.

By placing Lincoln’s words in historical context and presenting such bedrock American documents as Lincoln’s First and Second Inaugural Addresses, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation, the exhibition provides a deeper understanding of how remarkable Lincoln’s decisions were for their time and why his words resonate today.

The exhibition draws on the extensive collection of Lincoln material in the Library of Congress and includes letters, photographs, political cartoons, period engravings, speeches, and artifacts. The actual grammar book studied by Lincoln in his boyhood effort to master English, the notes he prepared in advance of his seminal debates with Senator Stephen A. Douglas, and the personal scrapbook of newspaper clippings of the debates he assembled help to bring Lincoln to life.

The exhibition includes a caned rocking chair from the Springfield office of the Lincoln and Herndon law firm, on loan from the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, and the contents of Lincoln’s pockets on the night he was assassinated. The exhibition also includes a seldom-seen exchange of letters written during the 1860 presidential campaign between the Republican candidate and Miss Grace Bedell. The two corresponded concerning the positive effects that growing a beard could have on Lincoln’s presidential campaign. The letters are on loan from the Benjamin Shapell Family Manuscript Foundation and the Detroit Public Library. Aspiring poets will enjoy Lincoln’s early attempts at this difficult art form, as well as Walt Whitman’s Civil War diary and his verse written at the time of Lincoln’s assassination, “Oh Captain, My Captain.”

Other items include campaign and election ephemera and such treasures as an autobiography that Lincoln supplied to admiring biographers; his Farewell Address written as he boarded the train from Springfield the Bible upon which he took the oath of office on March 4, 1861, and which was also used by President Barack Obama in 2009; his Gettysburg Address, considered our nation’s preeminent speech; and his impassioned letter to Albert G. Hodges, editor of the Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth, in defense of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Military enthusiasts have the opportunity to see the highly critical letter Lincoln wrote but never sent to General George G. Gordon Meade following the Battle of Gettysburg, the signed commission of General Ulysses S. Grant as Lieutenant General, several inquiring and sometimes reprimanding letters to General George B. McClellan, and the letter of thanks to General William T. Sherman for the capture of Savannah, Georgia. The exhibition also includes one of the most significant military documents of the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee’s “lost order,” which was found by Union forces prior to the Battle of Antietam. Lee’s ensuing retreat following the battle provided Lincoln with the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

The exhibition concludes with a moving selection of emotional artifacts related to Lincoln’s assassination and examines his overwhelming and enduring legacy to our nation and the healing of the nation’s wounds brought on by the Civil War.

Visitors also have the opportunity to tour the Atlanta History Center’s award-winning permanent exhibition, Turning Point: The American Civil War. At 9,200 square feet, Turning Point is the largest Civil War exhibition in the South that tells the story of the war from beginning to end and beyond. Included are over 1,400 original Union and Confederate artifacts, plus photographs, vignettes, videos, and interactive components that deal with the causes of the war, soldiers’ lives, wartime manufacturing, the home front, and the bloody, decisive campaigns of 1864. A final section encourages guests to search for the consequences and meaning of the war, which claimed 670,000 American lives, more than the combined number of Americans killed in all other wars from the American Revolution through the Vietnam conflict. The heart of the exhibit is the DuBose Civil War Collection, one of the world’s largest collections of Civil War artifacts. Displays include materials from the Thomas Swift Dickey Civil War Ordnance Collection, the Confederate States flag that flew over Atlanta at the time of the city’s surrender, a Union supply wagon used by Sherman’s army, General Patrick Cleburne’s sword, the logbooks of the CSS Shenandoah, the diary of a Union soldier who died at Andersonville prison, uniforms from both armies, and firearms, artillery, soldiers’ personal items, letters, diaries, medical equipment, civilian clothing, veterans’ memorabilia, and much more. Free Turning Point audio tours are available.

The DuBose Gallery is made possible by a gift from Mrs. Beverly M. DuBose, Jr. The exhibition is sponsored by an anonymous donor and by Mr. and Mrs. W. Barrett Howell. Installation of Turning Point: The American Civil War was supported by Balentine & Company.

Both exhibitions, With Malice Toward None and Turning Point, are free with general Atlanta History Center admission.

Founded in 1926, the Atlanta History Center is an all-inclusive, thirty-three acre destination featuring the Atlanta History Museum, one of the Southeast’s largest interactive history museums; two historic houses, the 1928 Swan House and the 1860 Tullie Smith Farm; the Centennial Olympic Games Museum; the Kenan Research Center; the Grand Overlook event space; Chick-Fil-A at the Coca-Cola CafĂ©, a museum shop, and acres of Historic Gardens with paths and the kid-friendly Connor Brown Discovery Trail.

In addition, the History Center operates the Margaret Mitchell House. Located in Midtown Atlanta, the two-acre campus features tours of the apartment where Margaret Mitchell wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Gone With the Wind, an exhibition highlighting the life of Margaret Mitchell, a Gone With the Wind movie exhibition, and a museum shop.

For more information on Atlanta History Center offerings, hours of operation, and admission, please call 404.814.4000 or visit AtlantaHistoryCenter.com. 

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